Synopses & Reviews
The sensational murder of Dr. Harvey Burdell in his lower Manhattan townhouse was the biggest news story in the United States before the Civil War; Who killed Dr. Burdell? was the question that gripped the nation. Deftly interweaving fiction and fact, 31 Bond Street is a clever historical narrative that blends romance, politics, greed and sexual intrigue in a suspenseful drama.
When an errand boy discovers Burdell's nearly decapitated body in the bedroom of his posh Bond Street home, there are no witnesses and virtually no clues. With the city up in arms over the vicious killing, District Attorney Abraham Oakey Hall immediately suspects Emma Cunningham, the striking young widow who has been living at 31 Bond Street with her two teenaged daughters, caring for Burdell's home in exchange for a marriage proposal. But Burdell's past is murky and his true intentions towards Emma Cunningham were questionable, leaving Emma with a plausible motive for murder. With the help of her defence attorney, Henry Clinton, Emma embarks on a legal drama to prove her innocence and spare herself from the gallows.
Set against the background of a bustling and corrupt New York City in 1857, 31 Bond Street is a fascinating archeological dig, taking the reader through the minutiae of a buried past, only to uncover circumstances that are shockingly contemporary: a sensationalist press, burgeoning new wealth, a booming real estate market, and race and gender conflicts. Ellen Horan's gripping novel vividly exposes a small slice of lost history as it explores New York City on the eve of the Civil War.
“Horan brings to life a sensational 19th-century New York City murder trial in which a woman is accused of viciously killing her husband. . . . An engaging mix of fact and fiction, with a juicy trial, sensationalistic reporters, and lots of local urban color.” Kirkus Reviews
“This thrilling book becomes not only a murder mystery, but a Wharton-esque examination of the mores and customs of antebellum New York society. . . . Rich with historical detail, 31 BOND STREET is one of the best debut novels in a long while.” BookPage
“31 BOND STREET is an impressive blend of imagination and history as it vividly brings to life one of New Yorks Citys most notorious crimes. Ellen Horan has written a novel that, once begun, will be difficult for any reader to put down.” Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena
Who killed Dr. Harvey Burdell?
Though there are no witnesses and no clues, fingers point to Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed Burdells house and his servants. Rumored to be a black-hearted gold digger with designs on the doctors name andfortune, Emma is immediately put under house arrest during a murder investigation. A swift conviction is sure to catapult flamboyant district attorney Abraham Oakey Hall into the mayors seat. But one formidable obstacle stands in his way: the defense attorney Henry Clinton. Committed to justice and the law, Clinton will aid the vulnerable widow in her desperate fight to save herself from the gallows.
Set in 1857 New York, this gripping mystery is also a richly detailed excavation of a lost age. Horan vividly re-creates a tumultuous era characterized by a sensationalist press, aggressive new wealth, a booming real-estate market, corruption, racial conflict, economic inequality between men and women, and the erosion of the old codes of behavior. A tale of murder, sex, greed, and politics, this spellbinding narrative transports readers to a time that eerily echoes our own.
“The skill with which Ellen Horan has braided true crime with thoughtful novelizing is pure pleasure.… Caleb Carr meets Scott Turow. What could possibly be better?”
— Beverly Swerling, author of City of God
“An impressive blend of imagination and history as it vividly brings to life one of New Yorks Citys most notorious crimes. Ellen Horan has written a novel that, once begun, will be difficult for any reader to put down.” — Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena
31 Bond Street, an unforgettable literary debut from Ellen Horan, is based on the true story of a brutal murder, a desperate mother and mistress, and the vicious constraints of 19th century society. Fans of Caleb Carrs The Alienist, Edith Whartons The House of Myrth, and John Berendts Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will love the stunning prose and beautiful imagery of 31 Bond Street.
About the Author
A book and magazine photo editor, Ellen Horan has worked on staff and freelance for many publications, including Vanity Fair, Vogue, House & Garden, Forbes, and ARTnews, as well as for a number of book publishers.